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Bush 'can't top' queen's 1776 joke

  |   May 9, 2007 at 12:45 AM
WASHINGTON, May 8 (UPI) -- Britain's Queen Elizabeth II drew applause and laughter with a joke on President George W. Bush at a formal dinner in Washington.

One day after Bush inadvertently said the queen had visited the United States in 1776 -- he had meant 1976 -- the queen toasted the president at a formal dinner Tuesday night at the home of British Ambassador David Manning.

"Mr. President," she said. "I wondered whether I should start this toast saying, 'When I was here in 1776.'"

The queen said she had "enjoyed the chance to dwell on the history of the relationship between our two countries, as well as celebrating its present strength and vitality."

She also noted that the dinner occurred on the same day as the formal transfer of power in Northern Ireland, and thanked Bush and his predecessors for their "contribution to bringing peace to Northern Ireland."

When it was Bush's turn to speak, he got a laugh by referring to the queen's 1776 one-liner.

"Your majesty, I can't top that one," he said.

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